Winter with its cold, ice and smog can be overwhelming in Bulgaria. Thankfully, there is a quick solution: Thessaloniki.
The second largest city in Greece is a five-hour drive from Sofia, and has everything you might crave in the harsh Balkan winter. The weather is balmier. There is no ice. The sea breeze wafts in fresh air and the ideal conditions to relax, unbutton your coat and breathe freely.